How to Choose a Frame For Your Canvas

Frames for
Standard Canvas or
Stretched Canvas

These are the most frame-friendly canvases, allowing for the greatest number of canvas frame choices, with a depth of 5/8" to 3/4".

Perfect for:

  • 100s of our wood and eco-friendly frames, with a frame depth (rabbet) of 3/4" or greater. What's a rabbet?
  • Wide frames (2 1/2" and wider), no matter the frame depth
  • Metal frames with a frame depth of 1" or greater.

Frames for
Heavy-Duty Canvas
or Gallery Wraps

These are canvases with a depth of 1 1/2" or greater.

Perfect for:

  • Extra-wide frames (3 1/2" and wider), no matter the frame depth
  • Wide frames (2 1/2" - 3 1/2"), with a frame depth of 1" or greater
  • Frames with an extra-deep frame depth of 1 1/2" or greater

Frames for a
Floater Effect

Floater frames create a stunning and gallery-ready presentation, making your art appear suspended in the frame.

Perfect for:

  • Standard Canvases or Heavy-Duty Canvases, thanks to two different profiles
  • Available in 2 different substrates (wood or metal)
  • Select from a wide variety of colors, one for every style

1. Consider Canvas Depth

Knowing the depth of the canvas you're framing will help you determine the kind of canvas frame you'll need.

Common Canvas Depths:
There are a variety of canvas depths but the most common are:

  • 3/4" Stretched Canvas
  • 1 1/2" Classic Depth Gallery Wrap

Of course, many people stretch their own canvases on homemade stretcher bars, so canvas depths can vary widely beyond these two, but these will be the most readily found.

Stretcher Bars

  • The depth of a canvas depends on the type of stretcher bar (a wooden frame over which the canvas is stretched and stapled) used in its construction
  • Heavy-duty stretcher bars are deeper and wider, to provide needed extra support for very large canvases
  • Gallery wrap canvases also use deep stretcher bars and are specially wrapped to provide clean edges suitable for display without frames, or in canvas floater frames which show off the edges of the canvas

(NOTE: All our Gallery Wrap canvases over 36" in any dimension are reinforced with internal support bars at no additional charge)


2. Consider Frame Depth

To a great degree, desired frame depth (or rabbet) is a matter of personal taste, though there are some things to be aware of.

Choosing a Frame Depth to Equal Your Canvas Depth

  • This is a personal choice for those who want their artwork to be flush with the back of the frame
  • This provides the fewest number of framing options

Choosing a Frame Deeper Than Your Canvas

  • This provides a wider array of canvas framing choices for every style
  • Filling in the extra space with any workable backing material will be required (as passionate recyclers, we recommend using the cardboard boxes in which your canvas frames shipped, but you may also choose foamcore or another material)
  • The free retainer clips provided will secure the piece into the canvas frame

When Your Canvas is Deeper Than Your Frame

  • This is a completely acceptable choice, as even the finest art museums in the world have framed canvases that "stick out" past the back of the frame (press your cheek up against the wall next time, and see for yourself!)
  • You will want to ensure you are working with a wide or extra-wide moulding, so the canvas protruding out the back is not apparent
  • You will want to purchase canvas clips, to secure the artwork into place

Canvas Framing with Metal Frames

  • The rabbet must be deep enough to accommodate the entire depth of your canvas, because Metal frames typically have closed channels, in which to place your art
  • The large profile in the Metal Backloader collection, which has an open back, like our Wood and Eco-Friendly frames, is the exception to this rule

3. Consider Moulding Width

  • Moulding width is only a major concern in canvas framing when you have a shallow rabbet and expect your canvas to protrude out the back
  • Wide frames can be used for canvas framing, regardless of rabbet, because they will conceal the edges of the canvas behind the frame
  • When selecting a narrower frame, be sure that its rabbet will accommodate the depth of your canvas

And remember though – these are merely recommendations for canvas framing – your personal taste is the final word for selecting the perfect canvas frame.